Home Generator Maintenance: Generator Exercise
Like any power tool or electrical unit, regular maintenance is paramount to keeping your generators in tip-top shape. Because dangerous weather conditions can be unpredictable, keeping a close eye on your home standby generator will help you maintain your lifestyle, even during storms. Generator exercise will prolong the life of the generator and allow you to notice any minor (or major) performance issues. Fortunately for you, we offer this as part of our generator tune-up service.
Generator exercise should be part of everyone’s generator maintenance checklist.
Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance
Frequency: Monthly Duration: 30 minutes Load: 0%
Your automatic transfer switch (ATS) should be powered on for about 30 minutes at least once every month. This should be done without any load. Keeping the ATS operational will help ensure a smooth power transition in the event of an outage, and it’s possible to do this both manually and automatically. If done automatically, however, the homeowner should be there to observe the operation. Be sure to practice transfer switch safety.
Generator Power Test
Frequency: 4-12 times per year (monthly at most) Duration: 30 minutes Load:50%
Your home generator should be able to operate with a full load during an outage, but exercising it at full capacity may create even more problems. Instead, set the load to about 50%. Check your generator’s instruction manual for more details about the voltage that a full load can support. Please note: there is a small chance that anything, especially power-consuming systems like electronics or heating systems, may fail during this process.
This exercise can be performed by starting the generator and using the transfer switch. You may experience power bumps during the transition if using an open-transition ATS. This means that the functionality of lights and other constant electrical presences may be briefly disturbed, but the percentage of failure is lower. With a closed-transition ATS, the percentage of failure is (relatively) higher during the transfer, but there will be no disturbances.
What to Pay Attention to During Generator Exercise
Beyond ensuring that the generator is functional, pay attention to how it performs. If you notice any of these signs, call a professional for maintenance assistance immediately.
- Excessive noise/vibrations
- Unstable voltage/frequency (use a voltmeter)
- Exhaust smoke
- Abnormal engine temperature
- Oil pressure
- Liquid leakage
Additionally, make sure that all of your essential home electrical systems accept the generator, including your HVAC, lighting, and any other electrical components you consider critical.
Generator maintenance can be burdensome, especially during the summer months when other home projects and activities compete for your time. Contact us to learn about our generator maintenance plans and find out how you can ensure the longevity of your purchase.